Kick of Death (1997)

This is amateur filmmaking at its absolute worst. I realize there’s a lot of kids out there who fancy themselves filmmakers and I understand that everybody has to start somewhere. Shoot, we hear all the time about how famous filmmakers used to make stupid little movies on their super-8 cameras when they were kids. But I generally don’t have a VHS of them.

Just because you managed to get your friends to pitch in, your mom to sew stripper costumes and your drunken uncle to hold the boom mike almost out of the shot doesn’t mean that you actually ought to unleash your 10th grade extra credit film club project on the public at large. Sure, we all stare at our turds and admire them, but no one else wants to see!

Wait – Kick Of Death is a real movie? Made by adults? By people with credits on other projects? Hmmm. The video box does claim that some of the people in this movie appeared in NYPD Blue, The Road Warrior, and something called Savage Beach.

But if that was the case, why would the entire thing look like it was shot on a dude’s camcorder? And all the establishing shots of places like Hong Kong and Las Vegas look like a montage of the director’s vacation to those locations?

Are you sure that the hard-looking broad in the yellow pants suit named Marion wasn’t the housewife down the street and not actually the “hottie” that “The Deadliest Kickboxer in Hong Kong” was lusting after?

I suppose the set up for the movie is pretty standard as these things go. Shane McQuade is a kickboxer who is supposed to throw a fight for some gangsters in Hong Kong, but gets pissed when someone calls his manager a drunk and so he wins the fight instead. Then he kills a couple of people and goes on the lam in Las Vegas, hiding out at a strip club.


Of course, the devil is in the details in these sorts of things so that description doesn’t quite give you the flavor of things. For instance, when the fat, mega-mulletted manager asks Shane why he did it and Shane tells him it was because they said he was a drunk, his manager exclaims, “I am a drunk, Shane!”

Shane defends his friend by responding with, “not anymore, not so much!” Thanks for your support, Shane. Pass me another Old Style.

In one of those plot twists that could only occur in a movie where Shane is stabbed in the back and he only barely seems to remembers that as he runs away with no apparent ill effect, Shane hitches a ride with a mob hitman! The hitman recognized Shane as the kickboxer who went crazy and killed a bunch of people in Hong Kong. And really, isn’t a homicidal kickboxer the hitch-hiker we all want to pick up?

The hitman is going to have Shane dig a grave for a guy he killed and then he’s going to kill Shane. All this because the hitman wore his good suit and didn’t want to ruin it digging the grave. So Shane ends up beating the guy to death with the shovel!


As you have probably surmised by now, Shane turns out to be a bit of a murderous psychopath, which while not making him terribly sympathetic, is at least good for a lot of scenes of him shooting people in cold blood.

He ends up as a bouncer at a strip club where his best friend works. His best friend is married to Shane’s old flame Marion, but Shane deals with that the way any guy who works as a bouncer in a strip club would – by banging a stripper! Shane and his stripper pal roll around for so long that I hit the fast forward button and was able to shave a couple of lifesaving minutes off the movie!

Oh, and as you might expect, Shane has a bar fight at the strip club for absolutely no reason. It’s horrible (worse than the one in Night of the Kickfighters, which I would have never thought possible) and the budget is so non-existent in this movie that nothing gets broken in the bar fight.

The movie does gives us the classic moment when the stripper swinging around on the pole kicks a guy during the bar fight to assist Shane. That was a nice touch, but it’s really hard to be positive when the movie shows a waitress standing around looking bored by it all.


Saying that the movie is truly horrible and an affront against God and all his creatures feels like I’m soft-peddling things a bit, but a few areas of incompetence should be singled out. One is the aneurysm-inducing soundtrack that is full of guitars and drums and never fails to not match what the scene is about. The theme song is also a whopper of a corn-riddled brownie as well, sounding like an old James Bond theme and babbling about that “cocaine kick of death.”

Heading the list though of atrocities is the fight scenes. It’s a toss up which is worse – the choreography or how the scenes are shot. The fights have a painfully staged look with guys standing around and posing, jumping around for no reason, and throwing all sorts of punches that are nowhere near hitting anyone.

And to compound that lack of fighting skill, they don’t have any idea what camera angles to use to disguise the fact that no one is getting hit. Thus we have lots of scenes of guys getting kicked and getting knocked around when the other guy’s foot is about a mile away from him!

And just to round out the whole reeking package, no one shown on the front of the videotape box actually appears in the movie! You’ll need to be much more than Manager Mullet’s “not so much” drunk to survive this Kick Of Death!

© 2014 MonsterHunter

2 thoughts on “Kick of Death (1997)

  1. Just watched this. I thought your review was quite generous, as you didn’t mention the boom mikes or the countless times the sound goes out-seriously, of the thousands of films I’ve seen this has the worst sound editing, I’m surprised they released it. At one point I literally heard the director say “action”!

    As I type this comment KICK OF DEATH currently has an IMDB rating of 6.7 with 210 votes!!! How is that possible? It’s not like it’s ‘so bad it’s good’, it’s just AWFUL!

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